It’s good to be home. We’ve been back in the US a month now and after 10 months away, all of the expected things are easier: We speak American. We’re not worried about visas or having the wrong money or the ATM not working because we’ve moved countries yet again. And of course, most importantly, our families and friends are here. By design, we made it back to the States just in time for the holidays, starting with Thanksgiving, and will finish out the remainder of our year traveling here in the US. We flew from Tonga to southern California to briefly see my family (no jetlag, as Tonga was so far ahead of LA — 21 hours — that we basically came back to the same time, just a day behind), then went on to Orlando, Florida, to meet 20 of Anthony’s family members in Disney World. Because no trip around the globe would be complete without a stop in the happiest place on earth. And that stop was So. Much. Fun. It was also our first trip in a year that someone else planned, which was such a relief. Ahhhhh. And it was a bit surreal to visit the different countries showcased in Epcot — France, Morocco, even Tonga over at the Polynesian Resort — that we’d just visited out in the big wide world only months before. After Disney, we spent three weeks in our hometown of Kansas City with my in-laws, whom I love. You can read about and see more of our Missouri run here. There was a road trip to the middle of the state, where I went to school, to visit my BFF and her family, and on the way we visited one of my favorite towns: the beautiful, sweet, cultured little Arrow Rock, Missouri. Population: 56. Someday maybe we’ll open a bed & breakfast there and make it 58. There was also a weekend in New York for just me, and it was my first time away from Anthony since our trip began. Literally, we’ve spent nearly every moment together since January, and I missed the hell out of him. Is that weird? Pathetic? Something I should keep to myself? What a reality check New York was. As soon as I got on the subway, it felt like I was fully back to reality. Thank God I only stayed 72 hours and don’t return for good until the end of January. I’m not ready for that yet. Because despite being so happy to see everyone and get to hug them in the flesh rather than wait for Facetime to unfreeze, the whole coming back-thing has been a harder adjustment than I imagined. Yes our journey and Amazing Race-of-a-vacation continues until next month, but being back in the States means a change in dynamic. I miss not knowing the language and customs and food and having to play charades to ask for milk for our coffee. And I worry we didn’t do enough, which I know is insane: 24 countries, countless stops, innumerable experiences and memories. I am very aware of how lucky we are and, ever the perfectionist, I just want to know that we haven’t missed a thing. Practically speaking, I still haven’t gone back to carrying a purse (I’ve realized this is my definition of freedom) and it was with great reluctance when I went to NY that I took my credit cards and driver’s license back from Anthony, who carried everything this past year, and started carrying them myself (in my pocket). I look for my trusty adaptor every time I plug something in. And I have to constantly remind myself that I’m in the same time zone as everyone else, and don’t need math to figure out what time it is before calling. I’m wistful about everything out there, yet happy to be in one place and able to spend time with the people I love, especially at this time of year. For now, it’s back to CA for Christmas and New Year’s with my familia. In a few weeks, we’re off to Hawaii for the final stop on our world tour. Until then, I’m just going to keep reminding myself that every day is an adventure. I may not be riding a camel in Morocco or a train through Siberia, but getting to spend time with people, without work or any pressing obligation tearing us away, is in itself a new thing for us and something we may not again get the chance to do. ‘Tis the season to be grateful. And I am. I so am.
I just might try to express it in a few different languages. Or with charades.
My spirit animal:
He is having the best day ever: